At Casita Coffee Roasters, we focus on fair trade practices, organic growing techniques and specialty-grade beans. We purchase fresh, in-season coffee, roast to order and mark each bag with a roast date, so you can verify that your coffee is as fresh as possible. We currently source the majority of our coffee through trusted local producers in Uganda, and we’re in the process of developing deep direct trade relationships with the farming communities in this area. As our business grows, we plan to expand our scope to include additional partner countries and producers.
Casita Coffee Roasters is a small, family-operated business, located in North Oakland, California. Six years ago, the owner of Casita Coffee Roasters, Nikki Foster, started working in Africa in the non-profit sector as a marketing photographer and blog writer. After returning from Africa, Nikki co-founded a non-profit start-up that currently benefits a group of 250 women and 50 children in Uganda. In early 2016, Nikki began roasting and importing coffee in order to sustainably improve coffee farmers’ wages and overall quality of life through direct trade relationships.
Our mission is to create a sustainable future for coffee farmers and to raise the bar for quality within the coffee industry by providing our customers with unique specialty coffees. Coffee is the second most valuable commodity exported from developing countries, petroleum being the first.1 For many of the world’s least developed countries, coffee exports make up an enormous share of the export earnings, comprising in some cases more than 50 percent of foreign exchange earnings.1 In addition, many of the coffee growers are small and their businesses are financially marginal.1
Currently, most coffee farmers do not earn enough to cover their costs of production for the year.2 The market price of coffee can fluctuate drastically depending on coffee production worldwide for a particular crop season. Many coffee farmers hold their ready-to-sell coffee in warehouses for months, in the hopes that the price of coffee will increase to an acceptable selling price for the farm and their families. This unstable price fluctuation causes many problems in the coffee supply chain. One problem is that many coffee farmers are abandoning the industry all together to find something that is more sustainable. A second problem is for farmers who hold their coffee for extended periods of time, hoping the prices will go up, they risk losing their crop and entire year’s profit altogether. If the coffee does sell, it is much less fresh by the time it is roasted and sold to customers. This trade model also causes coffee farmers to focus on how much coffee they can produce and not necessarily the quality of the coffee they produce.
However, purchasing direct trade specialty coffee allows the farmer’s focus to shift to higher quality. We agree on a purchase price ahead of time with our producers. We have our coffee shipped when it is at its freshest. The producers and co-ops we work with will have the security of knowing that their coffee will sell at a sustainable price and they are rewarded by higher pay for higher quality coffee. This entire structure allows the producer and roaster more flexibility in experimenting with new growing and roasting methods, and it protects the grower from the risk of not being able to sell their coffee due to unstable market prices. The result is better coffee for our customers and a better future for farmers.